Senate president of Rwanda Dr. Augustin Iyamuremye resigned from his position on Thursday due to health reasons, according to an announcement issued by Parliament. Iyamuremye has been president of the Senate for the past three years. Prior to that, he served as Minister of Local Government in the Rwandan government from 2011 to 2018.
Dr. Iyamuremye, 76, who has been at the helm of the upper house of Parliament for the past three years and is a seasoned politician who has served in different capacities over the past three decades or so.
Senate President Dr. Augustin Iyamuremye submitted his resignation as the President of the Rwandan Senate on Thursday, citing personal reasons.
“I have tendered my resignation as Senate President to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame,” Iyamuremye said in a statement.
On December 9th, a special plenary sitting will convene to declare the Office of the President of the Senate vacant, due to the president’s deteriorating health condition. The statement from Parliament reads: “Earlier this week, he presided over a session to close the senate’s ordinary session. However, his health has rapidly declined since then, and it is now necessary to officially declare the office vacant.”
Rwandans took to Twitter to wish Dr. Iyamuremye, who served in different ministerial dockets since 1994, a quick recovery. Some said that they will pray for him, while others shared messages of support and encouragement. Dr. Iyamuremye is widely respected in Rwanda for his years of service to the country, and many hope that he will make a full and speedy recovery.
A senior member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Iyamuremye, who assumed office in October 2019, has been an astute politician who served in the previous governments led by Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu. He has the trust of President Paul Kagame and continues to serve in the current government. Iyamuremye is known for his ability to get things done and his dedication to his work. He is a respected member of the PSD and has the support of the party.
Dr. Iyamuremyi has been a trusted advisor to President Kagame for many years, and has played a key role in helping to shape the government’s policies and direction. He is known for his calm demeanour and friendly approach, and has often been praised by the President for his leadership skills. In his resignation letter, Dr. Iyamuremye thanked President Kagame for entrusting him with different responsibilities over the years, and for his confidence in his abilities.
He was also a Senator from 2004 to 2011 and a member of the African Parliament during that time. In the Senate, Dr. Iyamuremye became the President of the Political and Governance Commission, a member of the Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security Commission and a member of the Social Welfare and Human Rights Commission.
Dr Iyamuremye occupied different dockets as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2000 and as Minister of Information from 1998 to 1999. He was the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock from 1994 to 1998 and was also a member of the Senate from 2004 to 2011. During this period he headed a number of commissions.
Earlier in his career he served as the Secretary General of Internal Intelligence in the Prime Minister’s Office from June 1992 to April 1994. He was also the Prefect of what was Gitarama Prefecture from December 1990 to 1992, Director of Nyanza Dairy Factory from 1984 to 1990 and Professor and Researcher at the National University of Rwanda from 1977 to 1984.
A veterinarian by training, Dr. Iyamuremye was also a member of the Pan-African Parliament and was pushing for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Prior to rejoining the Senate, he was the Chairperson of Rwanda Elders Advisory Forum.
What next for the Rwandan Senate?
According to the law, the Senate has up to 30 days to pick the new president but in the meantime, Espérance Nyirasafari, the Senate Vice-President in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight, will take over, pending a possible appointment of a new Senator by the President of Republic to fill the void.
Dr. Iyamuremye replaced Bernard Makuza who had concluded his tour of duty in the country’s 2nd highest office after the President of the Republic.